Calling Out Sexism Works, Just Ask Jean Stothert

Sexism can hurt a woman candidate’s campaign, as we’ve established, but addressing it can actually help her campaign. That’s exactly what happened in Jean Stothert’s campaign for Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska.

A male opponent, Chris Jerram, was pictured holding up an offensive t-shirt depicting Stothert as a stripper with the text “sponsored by suck my private sector.” Obviously, this was one of the most egregious examples of sexism we had seen in a while. Though Stothert could have ignored Jerram’s frat-boy antics, she publicly denounced his actions, stating: “It’s not only demeaning to me, it’s demeaning to women,” and “to see one of my fellow council members holding it up was very, very disappointing.” 

It seems as though the public agreed: Stothert won the mayoral race by a wide margin against incumbent Mayor Jim Suttle—and effectively destroyed Jerram’s campaign for the position—making her the first female Mayor of Omaha in history. For the naysayers who think that publicly addressing sexism against female candidates will only hurt them, we ask you to remember this race. And our research.


Published by Kate McCarthy on 05/16/2013

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